I started focusing on eating a whole lot more greens in 2017. Turns out they’re pretty good for you.
And my boyfriend has been mostly on board with all of it. Whether I cook up a three bean chili or a sweet potatIndianan curry, he scarfs it down without complaint. I’d say he even enjoys it.
Until, that is, I started putting a green colored drink in front of him before he’d even had his second cup of coffee.
“Just try it,” I said.
He looked at me, eyebrows raised and kept eye contact as he took his first gulp.
Then he laughed.
Oh man, I thought. He doesn’t like it.
“It’s actually really good,” were his exact words.
So began my quest to get that reaction every morning.
After months of throwing the entire contents of my farmer’s market haul into the blender, I’ve come up with five solid smoothie recipes that I know taste good to even the green drinking averse. They’re packed with nutrients, they’re super simple to make, and they’re green smoothie sceptic approved.
Each of these smoothies serves two people.
Notes on Green Smoothies
Before I go into what the best ingredients are for green smoothies, I thought I would give my tips on how to have the best experience with blending up your greens.
Blend your greens FIRST. Put all the lettuce or celery or cucumber or kale in the blender with a cup full of water or your liquid of choice and blend the crap out of it until you can’t see any little bits.
Then put everything else in the blender until smooth again. High powered blenders, like Vitamix or Bullets, work best for blitzing up these babies, but if you just have a normal blender, not to worry. Simply blend it up for longer – about 30 seconds to a minute.
I also make sure that the lettuce or other greens are chopped up a bit. I have no idea whether or not this makes a difference, but it makes me feel better.
1. Going Bananas
Bananas literally make everything taste good. This smoothie is a classic and one I come back to at least three or four times a week.
2 medium sized super ripe, spotty bananas (best for digestion and they’re the tastiest).
4-5 large collard green leaves – be sure to cut out the hard stem (help lower cholesterol and fight cancer)
2 freshly juiced oranges – I leave out the pulp in this one because it’s just too much texture otherwise
1 inch (approximately) of ginger – skin peeled off if not organic
First add the orange juice and leaves into the blender and buzz, buzz. Then add ginger and bananas and I usually add enough water to just cover these guys up in the blender. Blitz until you’d pulverized those bananas and separate into two glasses. Frozen bananas are equally delicious in this guy – especially in the hotter months.
2. Mango Madness
Make sure your mango is nice and ripe. Soft to the touch and, depending on the variety you’ve bought, nice and yellow inside. I usually buy the Ataulfo mango (also called the Manila mango in some places) because it is SUPER sweet.
1/2 a cucumber, skin peeled off (great for hydration and has tons of minerals that are good for skin health)
1 whole ripe mango
2-3 freshly squeezed oranges – I like the pulp in this one, but make sure to avoid the seeds!
I literally put everything in the blender at the same time. If your oranges don’t produce that much juice, use a few more or add some extra water. I love the combination of the cucumber and mango in this – SO good. Sometimes I toss a bit of ginger in here too if I’m feeling saucy.
3. Berry Good
You can use whatever berries you like most in this recipe. I usually just go for what’s on sale or what I can find in the freezer section of the grocery store when berries are out of season. Either way, I like to stick the berries in the freezer because it gives the smoothie a nice texture.
1 Handful of frozen strawberries (or two if you’re so inclined)
1 Handful of kale, stems cut out
1 Handful of green leaf lettuce (romain is nice in this, too)
1 inch peeled ginger
2-3 freshly squeezed oranges – I leave the pulp out of this one
splash of water
You’ll definitely want to blend the kale and lettuce with the orange juice first. I usually toss the ginger in while this is blitzing up. Then I stop the blender and add the frozen strawberries and a bit of water. Use less water if you want it to be thick like a smoothie bowl instead.
I find berries are best for masking the taste of any greens. If you’re going to make a smoothie and really pack it with leafy greens, throw in tons of berries and orange juice.
I called it this once when I made this smoothie for my boyfriend and it gave us both a good chuckle. It is pretty oatstanding, though.
I actually first made this without the greens and it’s like liquid oatmeal. It’s insanely good. Then I started experimenting with what greens I could toss in without altering the taste too much. While it’s not always super important to have greens in every smoothie, it’s SUCH a great way to get more nutrients into your diet without much effort, that I love finding ways to do it. Spinach is a great addition to this smoothie and it hardly alters the taste. I’ve also made it with cucumber which was really nice, too. Experiment with what you have.
It’s a nice filling smoothie, so if you find that your breakfast smoothie isn’t really holding you over until lunch, adding oats will definitely help.
1 cup of steel cut oats, uncooked (you can also make this with overnight oats if you prefer it creamier)
1 Handful of baby spinach
2 frozen bananas
2 freshly squeezed oranges
splash of almond milk (or plant milk of your choice)
pinch of cinnamon
Blitz up the oats and orange juice first. Then add the spinach and blitz again. Then add everything else. You can use regular bananas, but the frozen bananas make this even better. The almond milk gives it a nice creamy texture.
5. The Kitchen Sink
Sometimes it’s the last day before you go to the grocery store or you just don’t feel like popping to the corner shop because it’s 8am and why isn’t there any more coffee? This is my usual end of the week smoothie when there isn’t much left. I’ve actually started looking forward to it because it’s so delicious.
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1 Handful of lettuce
1 stalk of celery (any more and it because SUPER overpowering)
2 frozen bananas
1 Handful of frozen strawberries
1-2 freshly squeezed oranges – pulp left out
1 inch ginger, peeled
Handful of oats if I’m feeling extra hungry
Throw all the greens and the OJ into the blender and liquefy. Add the oats if you feel like. Then the ginger. Finish off with the frozen guys and a bit of water. This sounds like it’s going to be weird, but it’s actually delicious. Celery and cucumber are especially good after a morning workout. They help rehydrate and have electrolytes that you lose when you sweat (healthier and less sugar than a Gatorade!).
Why Drink Green Smoothies?
I love starting the day with a green smoothie. It’s so much easier to fulfill your daily fruit and veggie requirements when you pack them into a smoothie than if you attempted to eat them all in one or two sittings.
Fruits and veggies have TONS of fiber, something we’re all lacking these days. If you were to juice these same things (instead of just blending them) you would still get the nutrients, but you would miss out on a lot of the fiber.
I have also started adding veggies to my morning smoothies because fruits aren’t quite as long lasting when it comes to energy. I found that the smoothies that just had fruit in them left me hungry about two hours later. Fruit is digested very easily by the body and gives us quick energy, while vegetables digest a bit slower and leave us with longer lasting energy.
Since I started drinking green smoothies in the mornings I have more energy to work out first thing in the morning, I hardly spend any time in the kitchen since it takes no time at all to prepare (you can even prep them in advance and store the ingredients in a baggie in your fridge or freezer to make it even easier!), and I’m so much more hydrated throughout the day.
What are your favorite things to add to a green smoothie? Share in the comments!
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